Sometimes, we just end up watching too much Big Bang Theory.
Portia: When we go to Switzerland, can we go and see the Hadron Super Collider?
Ian: Why not? Though I don’t know what I’m going to do with it.
P: I said see it not play with it.
P: Can I put you inside the Hadron Super Collider?
I: You want to vaporize me?
I: I will move in the speed of light and I will get vaporised.
P: Superman moves faster than the speed of light.
I: I’m not a super hero. I’m human.
P: I thought you were a Green Lantern.
I: I’m still human. I will still get vaporised.
P: So theoretically, we can go back in time. We’ve found a way to move in the speed of light, we just need to move a bit faster than that, then we can go back in time.
I: Only if you can find a material that won’t get vaporised while moving in the speed of light. And create a container out of that material that can maintain the air pressure while moving at that speed. Trains can go faster than they do but they limit the speed to the capacity of humans.
P: We can get materials from the planet Superman is from, his clothes don’t get vaporised…
I: What planet is that?
P: Hmm… KRYPTON! Planet krypton! What if we can make a container out of metal from planet krypton that humans can ride faster than the speed of light to go back in time?
I: Is there a guarantee that moving faster than the speed of light will actually bring you back in time? We don’t even know it yet. Whose theory is that again? Einstein?
P: Is it part of the Theory of Relativity? I’ll have to look it up.
Long pause. Preparing to go out.
P: What are they trying to do with the Hadron Super Collider anyway?
I: They’re trying to find the god particle.
I: They’re colliding two atoms at the speed of light to find the god particle.
P: Are they relying on the law of big numbers to find the god particle?
I: I suppose so. There are billions of possibilities. So they keep on colliding two atoms at the speed of light to eventually find the god particle.
P: Let’s go check out Cat Café?
I: Why not?
Our whole universe was in a hot dense state,
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started. Wait…
The Earth began to cool,
The autotrophs began to drool,
Neanderthals developed tools,
We built a wall (we built the pyramids),
Math, science, history, unraveling the mystery,
That all started with the big bang (Bang)!
I can’t remember a conversation that I’ve heard recently, as I keep on having the conversation with people around me. Maybe I’m the one people are actually overhearing. I’m not exactly sure. But when the prompt said “conversation”, this is the conversation that immediately popped inside my head. I wish I can tell you that this conversation was fiction, but it’s really not. This happens when you watch too much Big Bang Theory.
I’m more of an art and humanities person rather than a science person but I do love talking science from time to time. And as I’ve recently introduced my partner to the nerdy, geeky, and dorky world of Big Bang Theory, we’re having more of this type of conversation than usual. It is very enjoyable.
I decided to present this as a dialogue because that was how it happened. And its different from what I usually do. Now imagine this occurring in an apartment while eating Chinese food. That’s how I wished it happened at least.
I wake up with the sun in my eyes. My window with pink lace curtains greet me good morning. I stretched, taking in my cotton candy pink room in. It’s a sunny day.
I hug my beautiful tiger stuffed toy to start the day. I say hello to the ladies of the court, a.k.a., my lovely dolls. I step on the furry red carpet, squiggling my toes. I sit on my red cushioned stool and brush my hair in front of the looking-glass of the bureau.
I open my room and step out. I walk past the wooden display cabinets that accumulate toys and photographs. I peek at my Mom’s room to see if she’s still reading inside or if she’s already downstairs. Her windows are open, letting the light inside her light green room. Her book is left open but she’s no longer there. She must be downstairs having breakfast.
I walk down the stairs, letting my hand brush the varnished banisters. I stop for a while at the entertainment area to look out the window. The sun is really out and I see the cats sleeping atop the green net covering the flower garden. They really like that spot. I call out to them but they ignore me. I glance at the big tv, thinking if there is a morning cartoon I want to watch. Maybe the Big Blue House? Maybe not.
I continue downs to the second flight of stairs, longer than the last. The wood still cool to the touch. I stepped on the cold tiled floor and looked for my furry slippers before heading to the dining area.
I see my Mom having coffee and bread for breakfast. She greets me good morning and gets me a mug of warm milk and some more of the fresh warm bread. The dining table is of warm wood, covered with a thick glass. I see some mangoes at the end of the table and I pick one out. Mom sliced it up at the kitchen before serving it in a plate printed with pretty flowers.
My Mom start to prepare to go out and I sit at the living area, wondering what to do. Do I play with my dollies? Do I watch TV? Or do I get started on Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea? My Mom and I found a copy of it at the booksale. I look for it in the library.
I sit on the chair by the window and prop myself up with pillows. The sitting area is right by the window near the front of the house. It has good lighting, appropriate for reading. Mom start her day out and I am left alone to absorb the adventures of Captain Nemo.
I get hungry, but Mom isn’t home yet. I leave my book on the chair and make my way to the kitchen. I open the refrigerator and see some chocolates. I get some and I take it to the second sitting area near the garden. The garden blooms with different coloured orchids, appropriate for summer. In the rainy weather, the flowers hide but the leaves turn verdant green. For now, I watch the flowers bloom, butterflies flying around, cats sleeping.
I think to myself, should I continue Captain Nemo’s adventure? Or relax in play in the sun? After all, the sun is out.
For Day 11, I re-imagined my 12 year-old self wandering our family home. I just thought of this idea to describe where I lived when I was 12, as the prompt asked for. Admittedly, I wasn’t that particular about the length of the sentences, but I think there’s enough variation in there.
I cream is happiness in a cup. It’s a simple as that.
As a child, I would get excited when the ice cream trolley would pass by. They have a distinctive bell followed by, “Ice cream! Ice cream!” You know that the neighbourhood kids, myself included, would run down and impatiently wait in front of their homes, until its their turn with the ice cream trolley.
It is simple ice cream, commonly called “dirty ice cream,” available in three flavours—cheese, chocolate, and avocado. You can choose just one, but back then and even today, you must have all three. This is one consistency in Philippine culture. It never changes, except the price. But even now, it is still on the cheap side. We still all wait for the bells of the sorbetero.
This is the one thing that never changes. When I visit home, we still often buy ice cream from the trolley. Though some trolleys sell commercial ice cream, the “dirty ice cream” is still as alive as ever.
My Mom bought ice cream for me after we visit the dentist.
My Mom bought ice cream for me after a doctor’s appointment (injections).
My Mom bought ice cream for me when I’m sad.
My Mom bought ice cream for me when I’m happy.
My Mom bought ice cream simply because.
Growing up, we sometimes visit the city. We live in a small town and the city is about 40 minutes away. I remember that we would always go to the Magnolia House. It is the popular specialty ice cream shop back then. They would close for a long time, opening recently in the metro. But their bestseller was, and still is—the banana split.
A visit to the city meant that I will get a banana split. Three scoops of ice cream—vanilla, chocolate, and strawberries, flanked by split bananas. This would be smothered by chocolate syrup, peanuts, and marshmallow. Thinking about it makes my mouth water.
That’s the magic of life.
Ice cream also reminds me of my Grandfather who recently passed away. When he was still strong enough, he would always bring us two tubs of ice cream—one chocolatey, for the kids; and one fruity, for the adults. He did this every time the family would get together until the time that he completely weakened. He was always the Grandfather who brought ice cream.
After his funeral, we were having a family meal, as traditionally done. My younger cousins, nephews and nieces, were asking me for ice cream. I bought two large tubs for them. Ironically, they chose two flavours—one chocolatey and one fruity, just like how our Grandfather used to bring them. I don’t know if they remember, as they were too young. But it was a good way to celebrate his life.
Ice cream is still a part of me. It is a celebration of the everyday.
I’m lucky I have a partner who shares this magic.
“Remember when we first went out?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said.
“Remember we got ice cream?”
“Yes, you were a kiddo. Messy.”
“Remember what you said?”
“It made me happy. Ice cream should make you happy.”
My ice cream desires would grow and expand. I still love the classic “dirty ice cream.” I discovered gelato and it was love at first bite. There are all sorts of ice cream from all over and I am determined to try as much as I can. I even gained weight backpacking through Europe as I think I practically ate ice cream once or twice a day! And that desire never abated.
Now, it’s a warm summer day. And I want ice cream.
“Can you take me to get ice cream?” I asked.
“Where?” said Ian.
And he did take me.
Today’s prompt was fun. My food is ice cream and I’m imagining us, lounging around in my apartment, talking about ice cream, like we usually do. Day 10! I can hardly believe it!
“There’s a grief that can’t be spoken. There’s a pain goes on and on. Empty chairs at empty tables, now my friends are dead and gone. Here they talked of revolution. Here it was they lit the flame. Here they sang about tomorrow, and tomorrow never came.”
A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry.
The man thinks of spring. The promises of spring, the promises of new life. But it is a spring that never came. He broke down crying. Crying for his comrades. Dead. Lost. Unknown.
Is there still hope?
The old woman is knitting a small sweater, as if for a child. Perhaps her grandchild. What kind of life would that child face?
We live in a world as if slaves. The corruption, the poison, permeates in this world. The people lacked the empathy to feel, the will to fight. There is only resignation and acceptance.
Is change still possible?
That sweater is just right for the chill of spring. But will that spring ever come?
We’ve fought. We’ve lived. We’ve died.
It is still the same.
The woman looks on as her husband cries. She held his shoulder, attempting to give him strength.
So much pain, so much sorrow.
Is there still hope?
I have him with me, free. But our lives are not truly free.
Is it time to go back to the barricades? Is it time to fight once again?
But we’ve lost so much. We’re lucky to be alive. Most of our comrades are dead. Or in hiding. Or attempting to live quiet lives as we are. But life is never really quiet.
The old woman is knitting a small sweater, as if for a child. It is a child that I shall never have. How could I, when our duties are elsewhere? This is no world for a child.
People are hungry. Uneducated. Oppressed.
Their spirits dead.
They no longer fight.
Those who fought are now broken.
It is no place for a child, for spring shall never come.
The old woman looked on the couple. She continued knitting the small read sweater.
Red is the colour of love. Of hate. Of blood.
I love my country and I continue to hope.
I hate my oppressors and I continue to fight.
I have lost my family and comrades. Years of loss. And tears.
I grew old fighting, I will die fighting.
People may still care, as my grandchild cares.
My grandchild hears the story of battles. Of blood. Of barricades.
My grandchild shall learn.
There is hope.
There is change.
For now, we keep on fighting. We honour our losses.
And my grandchild shall wear this read sweater, forged of blood.
Spring shall come.
“Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again! When the beating of your heart, echoes the beating of the drums. There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!”
I’ve been thinking about this prompt the entire day. But it was a busy day and I didn’t get the chance to sit on it until late tonight. I am still thinking about the student campaign/election happening on campus and I am seriously contemplating if any of them intend to serve the people beyond any political position or inclination. I certainly hope so, but the performance of politics breaks my heart as they continue to fall into the trap of popular taste.
This post, obviously, is inspired by Les Miserables. I still dream of a revolution in my country. I revolution that would change the inescapable system of corruption that we are currently trapped in. Though we continue to resist, sometimes resistance seems futile.
I also borrowed some ideas from Hito Steyerl’s I Dreamed a Dream: Politics in the Age of Mass Art Production. She performed that in Former West 2013, Berlin and it remains to be one of my favourite lectures. She talked about an art project that takes off from Les Miserables and waits of a spring that never came.
She stepped inside, uncertain. That café has caught her eye in the past week, but it was too rushed, too quick. Now, she’s alone, with no appointments to fulfil.
There were people ordering their morning coffee, and she stood for a moment, observing. The price was listed, and though most of the menu is in German, she understood familiar words—espresso, kaffe latte, cappuccino…
There were pastries as well, most of which, unpronounceable. But by the look and smell of it, delectable. It was too good to pass up.
She approached the bar and the nice lady greeted her in German. She smiled and said “hello.” It signalled that she doesn’t speak the local language. As the coffee lady doesn’t speak much English, she tried to communicate “What do you want?”
“Yes,” and then pointed to a particular pastry that she wanted to try.
The coffee lady gestured for one and then nodded.
The next hurdle was for here or to take away. The coffee lady pointed to a chair then to a door, asking the question. She responded by pointing to a chair. They smiled at each other, exhausted.
Numbers are next. Hand signals once again sufficed.
Finally, sitting down, she fully took the café/bakery in. The drinks menu are handwritten in chalk behind the counter, popular Italian drinks were understandable, the rest were not. She can only wonder.
She then observed the different breads and pastries, some she’ll get to try in the days to come. This will be her breakfast place. The coffee lady will grow accustomed to her.
The smell was wonderful. The entire place, tiny as it was, was infused with the smell of fresh coffee and buttery pastries. The coffee was strong and nice, the pastry flakey and soft. It was a good beginning.
People came and went, signalled by the jingling of the bell by the door. The café was right by the U-Bahn. She assumed that they were about to start their day, just like her.
Roughly a month after, spring will begin and they will have one table outside. But for that moment, its cold and snowy. She brought her dishes back to the bar, as she heard was the polite thing to do, smiled and said “Thank you.”
The bell jingled as she stepped out into the snow.
She walked inside a bar, confident. It was a sea of black coats, crowding the bar. It was a minuscule place. The temperature is picking up but the wind is still cold.
She squeezed her way to the bar, near the barista, determined to be heard.
The smell was intoxicating. Bitter black coffee was wafting through the air. Fresh hot pastries were making their way from the kitchen into the counter, right in front of her.
“Cappucino,” she said.
There was no menu, no way to know the price. But with all the locals, speaking and ordering in Italian, swarming the bar, quickly drinking their coffee and eating their pastry, she assumed its a local hub and wouldn’t be expensive.
He told her the price she needed to pay, and she asked “How much?” in English. He smiled and realised she was not from around there.
Standing up in the bar, drinking her breakfast cappuccino, she couldn’t stop herself from pointing at the cannoli.
“Crema o cioccolato?”
She thought for a second and said “Crema.”
It was heaven. The warm, light, sweet cream oozes out of the light and crispy pastry sprinkled with powdered sugar. She ate it in seconds, gratified.
She pointed at the cannoli again, saying “Cioccolato?”
The barista laughed and gave her a chocolate cannoli. Again, heaven. The rich chocolate oozes out as well, out of the same flaky pastry. She gauged which is better of the two.
The hot, fresh pastry smell continued to waft through the air, combined with the strong, fresh ground coffee. Invigorating.
She knew she should go. She should step out and catch vaporetto to start the day’s adventure.
Yet, she stayed, and pointed at the cannoli again, saying “Crema.”
The barista simply gave a hearty laugh and she laughed with him. “Prego,” he said.
She bit one last time into paradise, thinking she may never have the like of it again. This is how breakfasts should be. Always.
She caught the bartender’s eye and greeted him, “Grazie.”
He once again laughed and said, “Prego.”
She stepped out of the tiny bar, into the cobbled streets, to catch a vaporetto. She’s still smiling.
The prompt said we should go out to a café and observe, but I don’t have the time to do that today. Instead, I wrote from my memory. I tried remembering my café adventures, in the perspective of another person observing me. I hope it worked. I also don’t know if I’ve completely eliminated the adverbs here.
My students are always fascinated when I point out that Juan Luna’s Spoliarium isn’t his only work, nor academic painting his only style. Two examples currently hang in the Vargas Museum, right inside campus. One is a study of TheTrial of Galileo and the other is Picnic in Normandy. If these two painting could talk, I wonder how the conversation would actually go.
The first to greet you is the Trial, “There is no question to my greatness. I represent academic work, the style accepted by the famed Salons. I demand the highest of skill to produce. It is by this measure that an artist can truly be accepted as a great artist.”
But the Picnic would soon respond, “I challenged the norm of the Salon. This is the beginning of impressionism and modern art. There is no need to be restricted by the Salon. Impressionists would soon have the Salon the Refusés to respond to such restrictions. I am freedom.”
It is as the art world was in the 19th century. There is the highly established academic style of painting, the only way then to be truly accepted into the Salons, the epitome of an artist’s career. On the other hand, the time also signals change. A change in art, a change in perspective.
The Trial would tell of the technique, “Look at the beauty of my composition, the balance. Look at the fineness of the strokes. The contrast in darkness and light. The story centres of Galileo and look at how the spotlight seems to hit him, while his critics are cast in darkness. Only a greatly skilled artist would be able to represent this story like this.”
But Picnic would gently smile and say, “Look at how light I am. Look at the brightness of this canvas. Look at the brushstrokes, rough and alive, each of them as if telling their own stories. Skills for the academia are inside the studio, but for us, it is right here in the sun. Looking at me, you can feel the wind in your hair and the sun in your skin. It is as if light has been captured in this particular moment in time.”
The usage of light would be a key difference in the two styles. The academic style needed to perfect the usage of light inside the stability of the studios, while the impressionists would really go outside to try and capture how light affects the objects. Monet’s Rouen Cathedral series and Water Lilies depict this perfectly.
The Trial would point out, “There is a lot to learn in works like me. I bring to life important historical moments. Here, you can picture the story and the trial of Galileo. The man to bravely say that the earth is not the centre of the universe, and the earth actually revolves around the sun. This was against the teaching of the church at the time and would cost Galileo his life.”
But Picnic would reply, “Do you say that there is nothing to learn in everyday life? I put that into focus. I am lightness, and air, and freedom. Though history is important, it is everyday life that we actually live in. Painting how our life is, gives it more life. It gives us time and opportunity to reflect at the ephemeral moment that we live in. Everyday life is just as important.”
Which is more important indeed? History or everyday life? Must there be a conflict? In the academic style, historical and allegorical paintings are certainly given more weight. It is the way to acceptance. But the vantage point of everyday life must not be forgotten. The 19th century would weigh this two together, with two opposing sides. One has an established footing, while the other is starting to flourish.
The Trial may perhaps conclude and say, “There is a freedom to you, but I am the path to acceptance, the path that Juan Luna needed to take to establish himself. Thru his academic works, we was able to say that I am just as good as the colonisers.”
While Picnic would accept, “You are the path to acceptance. But indeed I am the path to freedom. I am the proof that he lived through this time, that he accepted the challenge of creating. He learned and he continued to learn.”
The 19th century was a signal for change. The academic style was challenged by the impressionists. In the Philippines, it was the beginning of an active engagement of the artists such as Luna in Europe. Their social class and status gave them a drive to prove themselves equal to the colonisers. It is the time that Jose Rizal would be motivated to write the two great Filipino novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. Their first drive is to prove themselves equal, it would be later that the call for revolution would be engaged.
Note: I wish I am more fluid with my words, but I enjoyed this assignment. Contrasting two different objects in a form of a dialogue is not easy. This two works entered my mind and I just let it go. I hope to improve on my prose, as it feels like the paintings are giving a lecture. Also, I wish I can show you The Trial of Galileo but I can’t seem to find an image online. I can only show Picnic in Normandy.
My post is a little late today. I prefer writing in the mornings. But there were too many things going on. Sheldon was around today, so we had croissant and coffee breakfast while watching Big Bang Theory episodes.
It’s unbelievable that he hasn’t really watched the Big Bang Theory before. He’s seen an episode or two, but he’s never really seen an entire season of it.
Now, we’re on an off and on marathon, looking at the lives of Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Ragesh. I still say he’s a Sheldon.
Watching the series again, in his presence, gives it more life. He notices things, down to the sodas they were drinking in the cafeteria. Its Dr Peeper, not Dr Pepper. Its Cola not CocaCola. And so on.
This pretty much ate up our morning. I haven’t been sleeping well lately, I think there’s been too many ideas in my head. So a lazy Monday morning is great. With a Sheldon beside me and a Sheldon on screen.
My Sheldon loves Green Lantern. He wears green almost every single day. He wears his green belt bag and black hiking sandals wherever he goes. If he does not, all is not right in the world.
He explains mathematical and scientific principles on a regular basis. He’s a mathematician. I will stare. He’d laugh and continue explaining.
We were watching an episode of Little People, Big Dreams and one of the children failed a math exam because she didn’t know a formula (that I still don’t know now). Sheldon proceeded to explain that the formula is on imaginary numbers. I got so confused that I thought imaginary numbers should stay in the imagination. It was a good laugh, I haven’t thought about stuff like that since my college years but he brings them back to life.
He likes things when they are just so.
He also loves superheroes and he can differentiate the Justice League from the Avengers, something that has always confused me. And the superhero life permeates in his being. He loves X-Men First Class and absolutely loathes the Green Lantern movie. It’s something that I agree with, though I will never be able to fully explain what is what.
We were also talking about a friend’s wedding ring, as he was complaining that his gold ring is already scratched. I thought titanium would have been a better choice. But Sheldon brought up Volverine’s ademantium and Gundam’s gundamium as the much better metals. I don’t know if people are actually working on that.
He’ll measure ingredients down to the last teaspoon. He asked me to cook garlic fried rice and he’d cook the bacon, lo and behold, halfway through the process, he’s the one cooking the rice. I’m not complaining though. He’s a great cook.
Math, science, history, unraveling the mystery. It all started with the big bang.
I didn’t meet him in the past year, but in the year before that. But the prompt asked for the most interesting person, and he’s that. Anyway, we spent the past year getting to know one another. And the superhero nerd is really just getting out of his shell, just like in the comics.
He’s also a Magic the Gathering L1 Judge, working on his requirements to go for L2. About a year ago, I wouldn’t know what that means. We met through MtG and MtG friends, but knowing the depth of the game and the rulings, not to mention the rewards and hardships of judging, is something that I gained through him.
He’s a great judge, though still learning. He loved judging the Grand Prix Manila where he met judges from around the world. He wanted to make everyone feel welcome and since the event fell right after the holidays, I helped him prepare goodie bags for everyone. I heard they really liked it. It’s part of his nerdy world that is really fascinating.
Being a judge made him more mature, given the responsibilities that he has to the community. And yes, MtG is not just a game, it builds friendships and communities as well. Our community is also our family, as time went by playing the game, the relationships also deepened.
We’ll also hang out with our Magic friends and we would converse, as if we’re in a BBT episode. Yesterday, Sheldon was explaining the lore of where Elspeth came from. Elspeth is a slave girl from Dominaria and her spark brought her to Theros. She got her sword from Purphoros before she planeswalked to Bant. Heliod recognised her sword when she planeswalked back to Theros. And yes, I’m with him when he says that Elspeth isn’t dead, she’s just hanging out in the underworld until she gets herself out or someone rescues her. We just need to wait until the lore brings us back there.
That is how our Sunday afternoon looks like.
I double-checked on Elspeth’s story and he said I can elaborate it further. Elspeth planeswalked to Bant and became their champion. I asked if that’s where she became Sun’s Champion and he said no. She became a Sun’s Champion in Theros because Heliod anointed her. He needed a champion because they needed to defeat Xenagos, a planeswalker who wanted to become a god.
Wait, why did she become a champion in Bant? Well, she learned swordsmanship in Bant until she became their best knight.
It’s Monday afternoon, and this is what we’re still talking about. Sometimes, planeswalker lores are also my bedtime stories.
I realise that it is Monday evening now (very disrupted story) and though I try to edit things around, some of it just comes out confused. But that is the Big Bang Theory life. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes its plain crazy. But it is enjoyable.
My Sheldon also identifies as a cat. He has his own time and his own way of doing things. But I think he’s too sweet to be a real cat. But he insists that he is one, a silver one with stripes, and green eyes.
I’ll make him read this post later, but it will have to wait until he is done with Monster Hunter 4 or Dragon Nest. It used to annoy me a lot, but I’m ok with it now. He’s reliable when he needs to be. He’s trustworthy. And if his worst quality is that he plays his games too much, it’s not that bad. At least his vice is something fascinating and his other woman wears armours and fights for a Sun God.
Alright, he’s not as obnoxious as Sheldon and his name isn’t Sheldon, but I still see him as a Sheldon. All we need now is a Sunday night, with pizza and coke, and St, Patrick, and Lippy (and all our MtG friends) talking about strategies and lore. I’ll also tap four mana for katsu. Once we were playing EDH (Elder Dragon Highlander), I tapped four mana to cast Sakashima the Impostor to copy Zurgo, but he gave me a piece of katsu instead. It’s funny. And that is how we have our dinners.
I have to end this at some point. Maybe I’ll make more sense in the next episode. Or maybe I should write an actual episode next time, and hope that it makes more sense.
I don’t think I made a good character sketch here. It’s my first time. But it’s something that I hope to learn. I do think I managed to tell some semblance of a story, at least I hope so.
I took a photo and I wondered what Georg Sand is trying to say to me. I knew it was in German, but I had no idea what it’s trying to say. Or why it’s there. It’s in a beautiful, tiny green bridge right by the Hua Lamphong Main Train Station in Bangkok. There were a few locks similar to it, but nothing like the hordes that you’ll find in Paris.
We crossed a bridge and found ourselves in Chinatown. I let it go then, as Ian and I explored the different sights, sounds, and smells of that side of Bangkok.
Yet, I remember that bright pink lock, and that note. I wondered.
Who looks for love, does not find it.
She surprises us when we least expect it.
Much love to our First Anniversary.
I wonder who Georg Sand is. What is his life like? How did he meet his love?
Did they meet in the train station as they catch a train to Chiang Mai?
Did they travel as partners or lovers and explored Bangkok as my partner and I did?
So many possible stories, yet I can’t seem to find one and explore.
Did they simply get off at Hua Lamphong from the airport and crossed the bridge to go to Chinatown and head to their hostel?
But why leave that lock at that bridge? It is engraved, as if they prepared for it.
Georg first noticed Maria at the airport. They crawled their way through immigration at the Suvarnabhumi airport, amongst the chaos of tourists and travellers like them.
Eventually, they made their way to Basement B, to get on the airport link, on their way to the city.
The people didn’t thin, instead, locals and foreigners alike grew thicker, often jostled together, as the train made its was to the city centre.
They got out at Phaya Thai station and figured out their way to Siam Station, where all the city lines meet. It was struggle to go from the sky train down to the MRT underground, asking for directions with words they cannot pronounce.
Tired and stressed, they caught each other’s eye. And laughed.
They started talking.
They were both on their way to Chinatown, where their hostel was located. It was a long train ride, but they eventually found the Hua Lamphong Railway Station.
It was a beautiful Art Deco structure first established in 1910, renovated in 1998.
They walked past the taxis and tuk-tuks, determined to find their hostel by foot. It is a beginning of an adventure after all.
They found a tiny bridge that would take them to Chinatown, about to go their separate ways.
Georg asked Maria to lunch, he was hungry.
They crossed the bridge together and found a hawker that sells some crab fried rice and lemongrass juice.
I’m not a fiction writer, but I imagine two people meeting this way. Their travels creating an encounter, eventually making them take a decision. Do they continue on together, or do they go on their separate ways? George and Maria had lunch, then what? I for one don’t know. But a year later, there was a pink lock on the green bridge.
This exercise is tricky. I’m not sure if this is exactly short. But I remember that lock that I found when the prompt asked me to imagine a letter. And now, here we are.
Also, if anyone out there speaks German and English, can you help me out with the translation? I used Google translate and it is inaccurate at best.
Loss. Where do we begin when we talk of loss? It’s so easy to talk of loss as an ending. But given time, you realise that the loss is just a beginning. It will be more sorrowful in the days, weeks, months, or even years to come. Yet, it will prepare us to who we will become.
Death. Breakups. Failures. We will all go through that, in a similar vein that metal needs to go through fire and hammer to take form.
I lost my Dad when I was 6. He was a military officer. I am an only child, and my Mom was left alone to take care of me. But we were never truly alone as we belong to a huge provincial family. They never left and for that I am grateful.
But things changed after my Dad’s death, as things do when there is loss. I was spoiled and everybody went out of their way to spoil me even more. I was cushioned and protected from all the other possible pains in the world.
I didn’t learn how to bike, I might skin my knees.
I had service to go through and from school, I might get hurt on the way.
I was never left alone, I might get too lonely.
It was suffocating. Given some distance, I do appreciate the love and effort that everybody extended my way. But as I grew up, I learned to fight my way to independence.
I fought. I rebelled. I exploded.
I moved to college when I was sixteen. I was scared. But it was the beginning of fire that lit up inside of me. Time and again, I felt that fire grow dim, but it never died.
I finally have my independence. I studied hard. I made new friends. I worked hard. There would be times that I would go back home to live, when life gets too tough and I have no money to survive. But the independence never went away.
I am myself. In a constant process of being and becoming.
Yet, the pain of loss never really goes away. It is always there.
There are times that I would remember. I would have a quiet moment. I would cry.
I remember when my Dad would take me to the amusement park. He is a great shot and he can win candies and toys shooting at the fair. He would carry me when I am tired. He would play with me often. Or as often as he can, given that he is away for most days.
I still have that tiny 3-wheeled red bike that he got me when I was very young. He did let me ride a bike, but he had to go away before I really learned how to.
They say you need to learn balance when you learn how to ride a bike. For a long time, there is no balance in my life.
But maybe later on.
Maybe someday, I’ll see my Dad at the cemetry gates.
I remember not crying during his wake. I only cried in the church, as I was holding the incense. I remember thinking that we would never play again and I wish I had more time to play with him. It was the only time I cried when I was 6.
I will cry many times over growing up, until now. Today. At this moment.
I want to ask my Dad if he ever read John Keats. Or does he prefer Oscar Wilde?
I want to tell him I visited the house that Keats died in. He was overlooking the Spanish Steps by the Piazza di Spagna in Rome. Keats loved Rome most and I saw why.
Or would he prefer to talk about Oscar Wilde and his take on the human condition of the 19th century?
I discovered Cemetry Gates by The Smiths when I read Love is a Mixtape. I’ve always remembered him whenever I play this song. I want to ask my Dad if he ever listened to The Smiths, did he have the time?
What music did he listen to? What books did he read?
I know he loved Blowing in the Wind and that he read The Art of War. Copies are still at home.
But what did he think of them?
What did he love? Hate? What were his passions? What made him laugh? Are we the same? Different?
I can romanticise as Keats and Yeats. But reality is, Oscar Wilde is on my side.
My Dad, will always be remembered, not only as he was lost, but as he lived.
He lived. He loved. He died.
Note: Day 4 is really challenging. Loss is hard to talk about. My key loss is the loss of my Dad at a very young age. I had to grow up and learn how to deal with such a loss, while most of my peers are running about in the playground. And the twist is that there are two more articles to follow-up the first one. Like so many others, I’ve had loss in my life but whether or not I would want to share it is another story. I used The Smiths as an anchor. Music makes it easier somehow, yet more deeply felt.